As the 3rd annual Gov 2.0 L.A. (Gov20LA) approaches on April 21, 2012, I have been thinking a lot about why I started this conference and what it means for you, for me and for our futures. A few years back I wrote this piece "What is Gov20LA All About?"
In the 3 years since, we have seen huge growth in social media, cloud computing, mobile technologies and the subsequent explosion of citizen involvement with our governments. This has caused all kinds of situations, good and bad. On the good we are seeing country after country begin to adopt open data and transparent aspects to their internal and external operations. We have seen citizens empowered to use their voice, many for the first time ever. We have witnessed several countries fall to the "soft power" of people organizing, and then acting on the organization to effect change of a type we have never seen in our collective human history. On the bad, we are seeing totalitarian governments around the world cling to these new technologies and, indeed, even the people's response to them; to crack down, imprison people, kill people and break up organized groups.
I have written in the past about the two headed side of #gov20 and social media in general with regard to governments and the people who interact with them. This dichotomy is growing, not abating. We see people using technologies to force change, yet at the same time we are witnessing governments around the world investigate the same technologies to prevent change.
Gov20LA was created to act as a forum to collect the best and brightest people and their ideas and enable them to tell the world their stories. The idea has always been to empower people through learning about the cutting edge applications of technology in government and by the companies servicing them. We feel that by letting you see the speakers in a casual, yet live setting online, we all can learn from the human conversation and dialogue.
Technology is great, solves lots of problems and saves money when properly applied. The problem with most technology conferences and events is they are too jargon-laden and usually do not encourage open dialogue with the speakers. We do the opposite. We want the dialogue. We want our speakers interacting both with the live audience in the room and the global Internet TV audience. So we have created an open environment, with some truly amazing people from inside and outside government leading the dialogue.
I am personally so humbled and excited by the continued awesome response Gov20LA receives worldwide. I can't wait for this year. Join me. Thank you.